Image from Behind the Scenes
You may not even learn their name. No matter how many (or how few) times you meet, it is enough.
Perhaps you meet by walking along the same forgotten, tree-lined path to a destination unknown. Perhaps when you wander a foreign city, in the street vendor’s stall where you first stop for food. Perhaps when you reach for the same dusty volume in a hushed, cavernous library. Perhaps when you pause to rest at the halfway-mark of a mountain pass, and the stranger, coming from the opposite direction, does the same.
In real life; you encounter the stranger when taking the same bus to work, when sitting down on the same bench in a park, when looking at the same newspaper, when passing on a favourite biking trail. Maybe your dogs play together if you cross paths.
But this is a person for whom an unusual, fantastic meeting place would be fitting. You are at ease in a way that could not be – had you met just anyone. You are comfortable speaking or not speaking.
This is the perfect stranger. Someone who will make no demands on you, and you will make no demands on them, so that you can enjoy whatever time you spend together either in silence or in speech.
You may be intrigued; where are they going, who is their family, what are their hobbies, what are their beliefs?
But you won’t ask, and not simply because you don’t know each other well enough to ask. You won’t ask because things are better as they are. Wondering, enjoying open-ended possibilities about this stranger without any of the sourness of real facts.
I want to meet the perfect stranger, the one in this poem who will keep me company in some open place. Where we both happened to sit. Sitting and eating, enjoying the air. The one who will speak little but whose quiet will not make me uncomfortable, chewing with mouth closed, perhaps commenting on the scenery. The one who, young or old, will have something small but mysterious about them.
Anywhere we sit will be bright, skies blue.